I don’t think anyone plans to get divorced. I know I certainly never did. Yet, in March of 2007, I found myself separated from my husband and alone with three young children ages eight, five and two. I remember the day he left quite vividly, with snow lingering on the ground and Little H clinging to her father’s leg crying inconsolably. He managed to pry her off and walked out the door. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that much guilt.
If you are going through marital difficulties or divorce, I hope my story will help you. Let me tell you the rest…
When all was said and done, I guess my marriage ended rather diplomatically, but the reasons behind its demise were quite numerous. It wasn’t that we hated each other, nor was there much fighting or ill will. A lot of it had to do with maturity and responsibility or lack thereof, and my husband’s desire for freedom. In hindsight, our relationship was probably on a downward spiral for quite some time.
We’d had some problems when Master Yi-Yi was small, but we went to counseling and vowed to make things work. Eight years later, it dawned on me one morning that nothing had really changed, and I couldn’t see the future being any better. So, one day in January of 2007, when I was in a particularly foul mood, my husband told me we needed to talk about our marriage, and I eloquently spewed out that “It sucks.”
At this point, our discussion became more one of ending it. A book that helped me with my decision was Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can--and Should--be Saved. I told him I wasn’t going to make him stay, but if he left, that was the end. And I no longer wanted to be held accountable for his unhappiness. Somehow, we continued to live in the same house for two more months.
I think it shocked many people when we announced we were separating because we got along so well on the surface, but appearances can be deceiving. Even the mediator who drew up our separation agreement told us we got along so well, he wondered why we were considering divorce. I was lucky to have a lot of support from my family and friends, and I also found the Babycenter bulletin boards helpful.
Things were awkward at first, but as time went on, we developed a better relationship as friends, which continues into the present. Our divorce was finalized in August of 2008. My ex-husband generally sees the kids about 3 times a month at my house with occasional visits to him, and he is invited to all the family holidays and birthday parties. We have both moved on and formed new relationships. I was remarried (to TR) in June of 2012, and for the most part, life is gratifying.
Does that mean everything is perfect now? Of course it isn’t. I still carry around some guilt even though it’s probably unwarranted. And there are times I am still sad that my children aren’t growing up with their father in their lives on a daily basis. But I’m also married to a wonderful man, who I know is happy with the life we’ve made. And although I don’t get to see them very often because they are in California, I’ve acquired two wonderful stepdaughters.
What I probably find most difficult is figuring out the right dynamic between TR and my kids. It’s hard to know how much to expect of my second husband. I’m still the one who mostly deals with homework and discipline. Master Yi-Yi probably clashes with TR the most. He’s never been one who has liked being told what to do and has always been very strong willed. And he was old enough when his father left to be more set in his ways. But there are times when they go off just the two of them and have a great time together. And then there are times when he is happier with his father.
Our blended family is a work in progress. Hopefully, my kids will have the ability to form healthy relationships despite their parents’ divorce. They are all pretty well adjusted and in hindsight, I’m glad we ended it when they were young. At one point, I thought staying together for their sake was the answer, but if they aren’t going to witness a positive relationship, I think divorce can be the best option. It was, in any case, the best option for me.